Gardening Tips and Tricks : Snake Bite Protection – Snake Boots, Gaiters, Chaps, and Gloves
Throughout the world, people are living, working and playing in venomous snake territory every day. Venomous snakes are found in every continent besides Antarctica and are responsible for 2.5 million envenoming snake bites, resulting in up to 125,000 deaths each year. While most bites are nonlethal with the help of medical treatment and antivenin, most are also preventable. Aside from avoidance, the most effective means of snake bite prevention is by using snake protective clothing such as snake boots, snake gaiters, chaps, and gloves.
Unfortunately, the parts of the world with the most snake bites and deaths are also parts of the world where poverty is very prevalent and antivenins are very limited in supply. To make matters worse, the average person cannot even fathom spending money on snake proof clothing as food and water are more important. The countries that have the highest snake bite occurrences as well as deaths are those that are located in Southern Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and most of all India.
In the United States, every state besides Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii are home to at least one of the 20 venomous snakes that are native to North America. That puts many people in contact with venomous snakes every day. North Carolina is the state that experiences the highest amount of bites with 19 of 100,000 people being bitten per year. Even though the national average is much lower at 4 per 100,000 people, the risk is still there and needs to be addressed. As stated earlier, the best defense against snake bites is avoidance of the areas that they call home. This though is tough when the places you live, work and play are the same areas that snake do the same. For these situations there is snake protective clothing that has been responsible for preventing innumerous painful, if not fatal, snake bites.
Here is a list of the different types of snake protective clothing and the ways in which it prevents bites:
Perhaps the common method of snake protection is through the use of snake boots. Most snake boots that are designed to stand alone in snake bite prevention are more than twice the height of regular boots. The common length is between 16 and 18 inches, which is beyond the most common striking height when it comes to the lower extremities. Most boots will resist penetration of snake bites without any special fabrics, but many of the higher end products claim to use puncture proof materials. Even though snake boots are substantially taller than standard boots, the difference in comfort goes mostly unnoticed unless the temperatures are hot. Even when noticed though, the piece of mind that snake boots give a person is worth any downside they may experience.
A close second in snake bite prevention are Snake Gaiters. These are basically gaiters that are designed to stop the penetration of fangs. There are many different brands out there and most of them are effective at heights similar to snake boots at about 16-18 inches. Snake gaiters differ from manufacture to manufacture with the cheaper examples made out of hard plastics and PVC and the more expensive ones made out of high quality puncture proof fabrics. Obviously the more expensive fabric models are more comfortable, but they will cost a person twice as much. The main consideration when buying snake gaiters is that they are something you will wear. Most of the less expensive models are far less comfortable, hotter, and sweatier than the more expensive models. If you buy the cheap pair but don’t wear them then they won’t do you much good.
Designed to protect more than just the lower half of the leg, snake chaps, also known as snake leggings, typically attach to a belt or belt loop and run the entire length of the leg clear down to the boot. Snake chaps are good for areas that are home to the longer species of venomous snakes such as Diamondback Rattlesnakes and Cobras, as their reach can easily exceed that of a person’s knee. Again, like gaiters, there are both expensive and less expensive brands of snake chaps. One thing that is common among the lower priced models is that many only offer snake protection to the knee and not above. This is even the case on some expensive models as well so it is important to find this information out before you buy. Protection below the knee is no better that the less restrictive and less expensive snake gaiters.
When most people think of snake bites they think of stepping on a snake and getting bit. What many fail to realize is that many snake bites occur to the fingers and hands of people. This is why snake gloves are also an important part of snake bite prevention. Most bites to the hands occur when doing such activities as gardening, picking up brush, or sticking hands in places where snakes might be hiding. As you probably already know, snakes blend into their environment very well and unless they hiss or rattle, most will not ever be seen.